Pro tip: Don’t pack for the apocalypse! You aren’t going into the middle of nowhere. You will be walking through cities and towns all the time. Better to stock up when you need to than carry everything on your back.
Don’t get stuck using a backpack without proper support. If you don’t already own a hiking bag, go in-person to a sports store and have them fit you properly. An uneven hiking pack can wreak havoc on your posture.
Your Pilgrim Credential (or Pilgrim Passport) is essential to completing your Camino, even if you don’t plan on walking all the way to Santiago. The Credential is a little booklet where each hostel, church and tourism office you visit can place their stamp. Some restaurants will have stamps of their own, too. It’s necessary to have at least one stamp a day if you plan on getting the Compostela in Santiago (a beautiful proof of completion diploma) with the full distance you walked.
Credentials should cost no more than €3-€5.
Credentials from the Cathedral in Le Puy:
You can get your Pilgrim’s Credential (pay by donation) at the Cathedral shop after Mass and benediction. Go directly to the Remise de la Cathedrale, open every day after 7am.
Credentials from The Pilgrim’s Association in Le Puy:
The association “Les Amis de Saint Jacques” provides assistance to pilgrims in Le Puy between 5:30pm to 7:30pm, including credentials. They’re located at 2 rue de la Manécanterie.
My Ultra-Basic Packing List
-3 sport socks
-1 warm tights
-2 sports bras
-2 sport shirts
-1 rain jacket + plastic poncho
-1 brimmed sun hat
-1 sweater (hooded!)
-1 casual outfit (I brought a light sun dress)
-Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, face wipes, hair/body soap, deodorant)
-Cellphone + local SIM card
-Standard outdoor first aid kit
-Backpack rain cover
-4 ziplock freezer bags (for electronics, laundry and guide books)
-1 small notepad
-Hand-wash detergent tube
Sleeping bags aren’t necessary along Le Puy, but will be if you continue on to the Camino Frances.
Buying a small tube of hand-wash detergent is a good idea. I suggest the “sans frottement” (no scrubbing) kind sold in general stores (like Casino) along the way. There are some good eco-friendly versions out there.
Just fill a basin with water and a bit of detergent, toss in your clothes and wait 30 minutes. Rinse and hang to dry!